Fighting Fit – Combat Fitness Class

There are certain parts of a woman’s body which resist being tamed. For me, it is my J-Lo style behind. As a former dancer, it was a hindrance. Selfishly spoiling the lines, teachers tried to tuck it in, only to realise it refuses to give up its place in the world. They would also check for any illicit wobbling during gallops across the room. Any offending quivering would be reprimanded with the light tap of a coat hanger.

Since leaving the dance world, my un-tuck-in-able bottom has expanded further so I am always on the lookout for ways to tone it up.

Combat was described in the schedule as: ‘a high energy structured workout that combines movements from the martial arts, boxing and kick-boxing in an effective non-contact calorie burning workout’. This sounded appealing, particularly the non-contact part, having always preferred punching the air to a fellow human being.

‘You will all get DOMS’, the instructor announced proudly. ‘That means delayed onset muscle soreness; however sore you are tomorrow, the following day will be far worse’. That won’t apply to me, I thought. I am a trained dancer. I invented muscle soreness. I was forgetting that my once-punishing regime was now a distant past.

The class was an aerobics lesson with a difference. I’m not a fan of aerobics. All those lunges and grapevines make me want to do-si-do out of the door. Thankfully there was not a grapevine in sight. Instead, the instructor broke down the technique for various punches, blocks and kicks which were combined into a routine.

Time was devoted to impressing the correct stance, which is vital to avoid any nasty twists or sprains. No weights or equipment were used and the workout relied purely on the exertion of continually moving your body weight around.

Pumping music accompanied what seemed like an eternity of punching and the effort to keep the movements strong for the full 45 minutes was arduous. I diligently tried to look aggressive as instructed but was a little put off by the unrecognisable colour my face was turning.

Repetitive aerobic exercise will always get your heart going but can sometimes engage only a limited number of other muscles. The twisting and balancing involved in combat means muscles that might normally take a holiday, like the all-important core, also get used. I would recommend combat as an effective whole body workout, for losing weight or for spending 45 minutes pretending that you’re Jackie Chan.

Despite my ex-dancer confidence, the promised DOMS did set in right on schedule. Everywhere was sore and in particular my arms, shoulders and bottom. Bingo!

Combat fitness classes are run at Nuffield Health fitness and wellbeing centres throughout the city.

Image by ElvertBarnes courtsey of Flickr

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